Sixth round of talks between farmers and Government brings in few concessions
Farmers and Government: The sixth round of talks between farmer union leaders and government led to few concessions offered by latter to pacify the protests, which has been ongoing for over a month. With regard to the recent negotiations, the Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Tomar said, “Of the four agendas of farmers, two have been agreed upon. Talks will resume at 2 pm on January 4 on the two outstanding issues. The farmer unions should ask the elderly, the women and children to return home owing to the winter conditions.”
The central government’s concessions were not directly related to the repealing of the contentious farm laws, and rather focused on appeasing the farmers by offering to withdraw the electricity amendment bill and penal provisions for stubble burning. The meeting, which was attended by 41 farmers’ groups and three Union ministers, did not lead to any consensus over the farm laws.
“There’s still a deadlock over 3 farm laws being scrapped. We couldn’t reach a consensus with them on MSP. On issue of stubble burning, govt agreed to exclude farmers from fine. On electricity issue, govt has taken back Power Bill 2020”, said Krantikari Kisan Union President Darshan Pal.
The government stood firm on backing the three farms laws, which were introduced in September. The three agricultural laws included – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation), Act, 2020, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
Union minister Som Prakash, who represented central government at the recent talks, said, “Today’s meeting with farmers will be decisive”. He added, “We want them to celebrate New Year at their homes, with their family and we are going into the meeting with an open heart and mind. The government will try to resolve the issue so that people can go back to their homes.”
Besides, the government assured the farmers that the minimum support price (MSP) would not be scrapped under any circumstances as the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh emphasised that no “ma ka lal (no one)” can take away farmers’ land. But the union leaders failed to provide the same in writing.
In letter published on Tuesday, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella organisation which represents the farmer unions, demanded that the government provided a method to repeal the three contentious laws in case of certain failures and introduced a legal guarantee over minimum support price (MSP).
The country’s agricultural community believed that these newly introduced legislations heavily favoured big corporations, leaving vulnerable farmers in a weaker spot. Modi government’s inability to provide a legal backing to its stand over the issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) made farmers more anxious as it left more room to alter things in future.